That's RICH: Iran Offers to Help U.S. Contain Coronavirus, as It Lies to Cover Up the Pandemic
On Thursday, Iran's Deputy Health Minister Ali-Reza Raeesi offered to help the U.S. control its coronavirus outbreak, suggesting the U.S. drop sanctions in return for this crucial aid. Raeesi made this offer as the Islamic Republic is working to downplay the spread of the virus in Iran, a propaganda effort proven false by photos from space in addition to a few social media reports on the ground.
Iran's official news agency reported Raeesi's generous offer on Thursday.
"Iran's Deputy Health Minister Ali-Reza Raeesi expressed readiness to help the US to control coronavirus outbreak there and said Washington should remove anti-Iran sanctions if its [sic] sincere with its claim of helping Iran," the agency reported. "Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Raeesi further advised the US to improve and strengthen its healthcare and medical system if it wishes to contain the coronavirus."
The Iranian official attacked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks criticizing Iran's response to the virus, claiming that "it would be better for an American medical official to comment on the issue as Pompeo is no expert in healthcare matters."
Raeesi declared that America's "health and medical system is incapable of controlling" the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting Iran is not only up to the challenge but able to provide the U.S. aid and advice in this crisis.
However, Iran is the last country America should look to for advice when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has dismissed the coronavirus as "not that big a deal" but Iran's Health Ministry has reported that 1,284 people have died of the virus, out of 18,407 confirmed cases. The opposition party has claimed that more than 6,400 have died, however. Satellite imagery showing mass graves in Qom, visible from space, lends weight to the opposition's claim that the regime is underreporting deaths.
Iran appears to have handled the crisis extremely poorly.
London-based Iran reporter Hanif Jazayeri shared a video from Iran state television in which a mullah tells Persians to shake hands and kiss each other on the cheek, so as to spread the coronavirus more widely to make people immune.
Another state TV video involved claims that the coronavirus is an ethnic weapon that targets people based on their genes. The "expert" in the video claims that Italians and Iranians are more susceptible to the virus due to their supposed ethnic similarities.
Meanwhile, President Trump has leapt into action, from suspending travel to and from China and Europe to partnering with the private sector. This week, the Air Force airlifted half a million test swabs from Italy to Tennessee.
With all due respect to the Mullahs in Iran (in other words, not much), the U.S. is handling the crisis quite fine, thanks. You can keep your coronavirus fiasco to yourselves — and you'll be keeping those sanctions, too.
Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.